News Releases

Funding in place for new marine enhancement center

News Release

Monday, April 19, 2010

Media contact: Brett Boston, 404-863-4530

A $900,000 project to convert a former Volusia County high school to the Mosquito Lagoon Marine Enhancement Center is good to go. Funding is in place to begin construction this summer.

The Wildlife Foundation of Florida spearheaded organizing public and private partners, including approaching the Volusia County Council to chip in a $600,000 grant from the county's Environmental, Cultural, Historic and Outdoors Grants funds.

New Smyrna Beach kicked in another $130,000 shot in the arm on top of $150,000 from the wildlife foundation. Local organizations - Artists Workshop Inc. and Marine Discovery Center Inc. - generated $10,000 each.

"This facility is going to be a great asset in Volusia County," said Brett Boston, the wildlife foundation's executive director. "It marks a significant return on the investment the county's residents made by allowing a new tax on themselves to pay for projects like this one. That reflects the county's vision that Florida is like no other place on earth, and we must all work together to keep it that way."

The project is the first phase of a 10-year plan that will begin with demolition of unusable buildings and renovation of others on the campus of the former New Smyrna Beach High School.

The Artists Workshop and the Marine Discovery Center will lease one of the buildings and provide marine environmental and cultural learning experiences, and outdoor recreation activities for local residents and visitors. Another building will house Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers and biologists.

"Eventually, the project will include birding trails along the shoreline, an observation tower and kayak trails in the lagoon," Boston said.

Once completed, the facility will include a hatchery for redfish and sea trout and propagation of reef fish for stocking local waters.

"The final phase will involve developing additional FWC and public facilities on the site," Boston said.

FWC Facts:
Least killifish rarely exceed 1 inch in length and are the smallest of Florida’s freshwater fish.

Learn More at AskFWC